Monday, October 20, 2014

Internet – Getting a domain name registrant to correct their false registration information

             Domain name registrants or owners are supposed to provide accurate and correct registration information, such as address, telephone number and e-mail address.  However, registrants often enter false mailing address and telephone number information because it increases the difficulty of finding the domain name registrant.  Fortunately, domain name registrars will help you correct any inaccurate registrant information.

            Domain name registrars require as part of their registration agreements that registrants provide current and accurate.  For example, GoDaddy's Domain Name Registration Agreement at Section 4 (emphasis added)

You [the registrant] agree to notify Go Daddy within five (5) business days when any of the information you provided as part of the application and/or registration process changes. It is your responsibility to keep this information in a current and accurate status. Failure by you, for whatever reason, to provide Go Daddy with accurate and reliable information on an initial and continual basis, shall be considered to be a material breach of this Agreement and a basis for suspension and/or cancellation of the domain name.

The initial and continuing requirement exists because domain name registrars must maintain a public database -- the WHOIS database -- that "is available to be searched by the members of the public in order to allow rapid resolution of technical problems and to permit enforcement of consumer protection, trademark, and other laws." See Whois Data Reminder Policy (WDRP) FAQs For Domain Name Registrants, at "What is a Whois Record? What is my duty to keep the information in the record current?"  

            Thus, when a domain name registrar is informed that a registrant has entered false information, they will attempt to contact the registrant to obtain corrected inaccurate information.  If the registrar can reach the registrant, then the information will be updated and you will have an accurate contact information for the registrant.  If the registrar cannot reach the registrant, then the registrar will suspend or cancel the domain name until the registrant contacts the registrar and updates its contact information.
- Henry Park

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Litigation – Serving a Foreign Defendant with a Summons Through the Hague Convention Using a Foreign Country’s Central Authority

This is the second of a series of blog posts concerning methods for serving a foreign defendant. This post examines how to serve the defendant through the Hague Convention using a foreign country’s Central Authority (Article 5, 1st paragraph).

            This post assumes that the defendant is in a country that is a signatory to the Hague Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters.  To confirm this, go to the website for the Hague Conference on Private International Law, follow the link for the Service Section, select the link for the Updated List of Contracting States, and then search for the country.

            Under the Hague Convention, each signatory country must identify an entity to act as its “Central Authority which will undertake to receive requests for service coming from other Contracting States and to proceed in conformity with the provisions of Articles 3 to 6”  (Article 2).  You may consider serving through a country’s Central Authority because, after the defendant has been served, the Central Authority will issue you a certificate that states (a) where and when the defendant was served and (b) how the service was effected.  This Certificate effectively eliminates a defendant’s arguments that there were issues with the service.

            The next step is to identify if the legal documents need to be translated.  Each signatory to the Hague Convention can require that the documents to be served be translated into a different language (Article 5, 3rd paragraph).  This information is also available on the Hague Convention website on each country specific page.  For example, the following link is to the page for Sweden.  Sweden requires that documents to be served be translated into Swedish, but that documents in Danish or Norwegian also are accepted.  You should confirm with the country’s Central Authority whether they require a certified translation, but most countries do not require a certified translation.

            Finally, you need to prepare the actual request document -- USM94 “Request for Service Abroad of Judicial or Extrajudicial Documents”.  On this form, you will complete pages 1 and 3.  Page 2 will be completed by the Central Authority after they have served the foreign defendant.  You should confirm with the country’s Central Authority, but most countries do not require that the USM94 be translated.

            Some tips for completing the USM94:

1.            Page 1, Identity and address of the applicant.  This asks for information about the attorney sending the USM94.

2.             Page 1, Address of receiving authority.  This asks for the address for the Central Authority.

3.             Page 1, method of service.  For this post, you will mark the check box for “a” as the Central Authority will serve according to its local rules.

4.             Page 1, location and date block.  After “Done at”, write your city and state.  After “, the”, write the date.

5             Page 1, authority for sending the request.  Under the Hague Convention (Article 3), any judicial officer can send a Request under the Hague Convention.  An attorney is a judicial officer and can send a Request.  It is recommended that any attorney write “Service requested pursuant to FRCP 4(c)(2)” on the USM94 form by the signature line.

6.             Page 3, “Name and address of the requesting authority”.  The name and address of the attorney sending the Request.

7.             Page 3, “Nature and purpose of the document” section, the following language can be used if you are sending a Summons and Complaint. 

The summons notifies the defendant of its obligation to answer or otherwise respond to the complaint within 21 days of service. The complaint notifies the defendant of the nature of the plaintiff’s claim and the plaintiff’s demand for relief.

8.             Page 3, “Time limits stated in document” section, the following language can be used

An answer or motion must be served within 21 days of the date of service of process and must be filed with the court within a reasonable time thereafter.

            Once you have assembled all of the necessary documents, your package to a foreign country’s Central Authority should contain, at least, the following documents:

1.             two copies of the USM-94 (may not been to be translated)
2.             two copies of the Summons
3.             two copies of the Complaint with exhibits
4.             two copies of the translated Summons
5.             two copies of the translated Complaint with exhibits

- Henry Park

Monday, October 13, 2014

Litigation - Waiver of Service of Summons on a Foreign Defendant

            After filing a lawsuit, the plaintiff has a few options on how to effect service of the lawsuit on a foreign defendant.

            The plaintiff could (1) request the foreign defendant waive service of Summons – Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP), Rule 4(d); (2) serve the foreign defendant through the Hague Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents – FRCP 4(f)(1); (3) serve the foreign defendant through the post – FRCP 4(f)(2); or (4) serve the foreign defendant through a mean that is "reasonably calculated, under all the circumstances, to apprise the interested parties of the pendency of the action and afford them an opportunity to present their objections" – FRCP 4(f)(3).

            This post examines the process for requesting a foreign defendant to waive service of the Summons.  Subsequent, blog posts will examine the other options.

            The plaintiff should complete forms AO398 "Notice of Lawsuit and Request to Waive Service of a Summons" and AO399 "Waiver of the Service of Summons," because these forms comply with the requirements of FRCP 4(d).  These forms can be found on most US District Court websites in their Forms section.

            The plaintiff should send the defendant the following documents by first-class mail or other reliable means, preferably a means with tracking:

1.             one copy of the filed complaint,
2.             one copy of the Notice of Lawsuit and Request to Waive Service of a Summons,
3.             two copies of the Waiver of the Service of Summons, and
4.             a prepaid means for returning the form, preferably with tracking.

            Assuming that the defendant or its attorney signs the Waiver of the Service of Summons and returns it within the allowed time, then the plaintiff needs to file the executed Waiver within 120 days after the action was commenced.

            Notably with a foreign defendant, one of the incentives for a defendant to execute a Waiver of the Service of Summons is absent.  Should a domestic defendant refuse to execute a Waiver of Service upon request without good cause, the Court must impose on defendant the expenses later incurred in making service and the reasonable expenses, including attorney's fees, of any motion required to collect those service expenses.  FRCP 4(d)(2).  However, with a foreign defendant, the Court cannot impose those expenses.

- HP

[revised on October 15, 2014]